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Harrah’s wagers on huge redesign for Valley Center resort

Company invests $160M in overhaul

Harrah’s Rincon Hotel & Casino will debut a new hotel tower, meeting spaces, events center and wine bar this spring. Image courtesy of J Public Relations

Harrah’s Rincon Hotel & Casino is getting ready to celebrate the completion of its $160 million renovation, as Phase 3 is close to completion.

The third phase involves the construction of a 403-room hotel tower, bringing the total resort room count to 1,065, and a new lobby lounge and bar with handcrafted drinks made from fresh ingredients.

Darrell Pilant, vice president of marketing and operations for Harrah’s Rincon, said a grand opening celebration is scheduled April 18-20, when the public will be able to see all three new areas of the resort.

“We also have some big-name entertainers, but can’t mention them quite just yet,” Pilant added.

Phase 2 of Harrah’s expansion included a new events center with 53,221 square feet convention and entertainment space, including 2,200 concert-style seating or 1,200 banquet-style seating.

The second phase also included Corked, a wine and craft beer bar that has a 15,260-square-foot patio for live music and special events.

The pool at nighttime. Courtesy image

Corked will feature more than a dozen beers from local breweries, as well as rotating seasonal selections. The bar will offer guests the opportunity to sample a variety of beers through tasting flights. Other features include rotating wine selections and beer and wine sales at the end of each month.

The second phase of the renovation project was completed in January.

The $160 million project initially broke ground in October 2012 and was unveiled in July of last year with the opening of the Baja-inspired ‘ritas Cantina, which has a taco truck attached into the wall, and Dive, which has a main pool, a brand new lazy river and a swim-up bar with 21 cabanas.

Dive turns into a day club every Saturday from May to September with rotating DJs from around the world spinning electronic dance music.

Approximately 150 permanent jobs are being created because of the $160 million expansion.

Pilant said the reason for renovation was to stay competitive in the region’s hospitality market.

“We wanted to provide something different,” Pilant said. “We wanted a mix of Las Vegas and Palm Springs. We want our customers to think we can provide a Las Vegas and Palm Springs type of experience, but without the drive.”

Pilant said the vision for the new Harrah’s Rincon had companies in mind, as well, not just those seeking R&R. The redesign includes ample space for conventions and meetings for businesses to host off-site retreats.

“We want to be seen not just as a casino, but a resort where customer can enjoy other entertainment amenities besides gambling,” Pilant said of Harrah’s Rincon, which is off Valley Center Road approximately 20 miles from where Interstate 15 and state Route 76 meet in Escondido.

The resort also boasts more than 55,000 square feet of non-smoking space, including 10,703 square feet of non-smoking gaming space.

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